Downstream Strategies President on Proposed EPA Rules: 'This is A Watershed Moment'
After months of speculation, the Environmental Protection Agency finally released its new proposals on existing coal fire power plants today. The EPA wants to cut carbon dioxide emissions from these facilities by up to 30 percent in the next 15 years. This strategy means these plants will be doing business differently.
Evan Hansen with Downstream Strategies, an environmental consulting firm in Morgantown says West Virginia needs to get on board with a plan to cut the pollution from power plants in the state by 20 percent by the year 2030 using new and developing technology.
"I think this is really an opportunity for West Virginia to modernize and diversify, its electric generating fleet," Hansen said.
"This is a real watershed moment where our leaders need to be moving forward, instead of looking backward."
West Virginia has two years to come up with a plan on how it will reduce carbon emissions.
James Van Nostrand with the West Virginia University Center for Energy and Sustainable Development says even with the flexibility it's not going to be easy for West Virginia. He says the state is already behind many others and needs to start catching up when it comes to regulating industry.
"The big takeaway from this rule is the energy regulators need to start talking to the air regulators. The DEP in West Virginia is going to be charged with coming up with an implementation plan," said Van Nostrand.
"The goal should be how can we comply with these rules at the lowest cost which is the least disruptive to the West Virginia economy. It may involve utilities using renewable energy, which is all part of the energy portfolio. It has to be coordinated with the DEP, because the goal is to achieve compliance with the lowest cost to the economy."
Four public meetings will be held in late July on the proposals. These will be in Denver, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and Pittsburgh.